The Donnybrooks (Cannonsburg,PA)


    Personnel :

    Robert Korbert aka Bobby Shawn

    Ken Paige

    Frank Trebel

    John Alterio

    Discography :

    1959 - Everytime We Kiss / Break The Glass (Calico 108)
    1959 - Coming Home From The School / Mandolins Of Love (Calico 112)


    Biography :

    "The Donnybrooks" vocal quartet began their singing career when they performed at an 8th grade graduation ceremony at the Third Ward School in the talented Western Pennsylvania town of Canonsburg.  They continued their singing career throughout their high schools years. Originally known as "the Phaetons" and then "the Four Pals", they performed at many dance venues around the Canonsburg and Pittsburgh area from Wheeling, Stuebenville, Washington, Carnegie, Bridgeville, McDonald, Uniontown, and Brownsville, to Sewickley, New Kensington, Wilkinsburg, and others. The group went through some minor changes in personell in it's very early times but the members, John Alterio, Ken Paige, Bob Kobert (aka Bobby Shawn) and Frank Trebel quickly developed into a strong musical group and they continued their musical career for several years.

    with Art Pallan...KDKA Disk Jockey

     Their singing style showed the influence of such pop groups as "the Four Lads", "the Four Aces", "the Mills Brothers", and other vocal groups of the 50's, but they had a unique mellow sound that drew fans from many ages to their music. They sang their own arrangements and versions of pop singles of the time but they were always done with a distinct original twist of their own. Their singing talent leads to Calico Records. The "Wilkins Amature Hour" was a popular talent showcase television program that was aired on KDKA TV in Pittsburgh on Sunday nights during the 1950's. The group appeared on that program "live" on two separate occasions.

    The Donnybrooks   The Donnybrooks

    Althought they never won the $50 weekly prize (they were beat out both times by tap dancers) the group continued to perform and grow in their professionalism and singing style. In early 1958 "the Four Pals" won a talent search contest that was sponsored by KDKA Radio and Westinghouse Broadcasting. Along with establishing a strong contact with KDKA Radio and their disk jockies this competition win lead to a recording contract with the Pittsburgh based Calico Records. One of the Calico Record Company owners was Bill Lawrence, a prominent record distributor for the Mid Atlantic region. He took the group under his wing as their manager and gave them a name that he always thought would be catchy and easy to remember. Under their new name, "The Donnybrooks", they launched a new career phase and recorded their first release, "Every Time We Kiss" in the spring of 1958.

    This song was written by the Canonsburg song writer and educator, Lou Popiolkowski. To the group's delight the record did well and it broke into Bilboard Magazine's TOP 100 in the summer months of '58 . With their record in the top 100 in the country, Calico Records decided to sponsor the group on a promotional tour of the East Coast United States where they appeared on TV dance programs in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. They continued their local appearances in the Pittsburgh area including the teen dance programs on KDKA TV with Clark Race, WIIC with Bill Cardill and WTAE TV. They also were booked in to some of the more prominent private clubs of the Pittsburgh area, the night clubs along Route 51 as well as appearing with the Dick Clark Cavalcade of Stars, at the West View Park dance arena, and Kennywood Park's outdoor amphitheater.

    with Art Pallan...KDKA Disk Jockey

    The second record, "Coming Home From School" was released later in 1958. This also was written by Lou Popiolkowski and the flip side, "Mandolins of Love" was written by another Canonsburg song writer, Tony Ambrose.  As the DooWop era of the late 1950's began to develope, Calico Records went through a financial and personell reorganization and "the Donnybrooks" were left without a recording company. Their performances continued at area night clubs and private parties in and around the greater Pittsburgh Area until in 1960 the group separated to pursue college and other careers.  They have frequently reunited to the joy of their fans and on occasions have been invited to performed their music at reunions, private functions and night clubs and they have made several guest appearances at the Canonsburg 4th of July celebration. In 2007 the group was honored and enshrined at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon PA.


    Songs :

    Everytime We Kiss                     Break The Glass

    Coming Home From The School        Mandolins Of Love




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